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24 November 2010

Pre-paid healthcare comes to South Africa

Pay-as-you-go, pre-paid healthcare was launched to much acclaim in Gauteng and already healthcare industry stalwarts are extolling its virtues.

Pay-as-you-go, pre-paid healthcare was launched to much acclaim in Gauteng and already healthcare industry stalwarts are extolling its virtues.  
 
South Africans have long embraced pay-as-you-go cellphone airtime and with new products from Yarona Care, they get to use the very same vehicle to purchase healthcare services for use in times of need. The Yarona Care concept is the brainchild of Bradley Soll of Yarona, the largest independent healthcare provider network in South Africa. To bring the product to the market Yarona has partnered with Makhonya Investments, a Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa-led (Contralesa) investment company. Makhonya Investments has a 26% shareholding in Yarona Care.
 
Dr Elijah Nkosi, CEO of SPNet, one of South Africa’s largest general practitioner networks said that: “Yarona Care has just made healthcare a great deal more accessible to the man in the street. What is interesting is how simple and practical the concept is. The product has all the elements of a winner – simplicity and ease of use, portability and accessibility.  What more could one want?”   
 
Yarona Care’s new healthcare products allow patients to see a doctor or dentist and to buy medicines when needed. According to Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, President of Contralesa: “It is just like using pay-as-you-go airtime on your cell phone. The healthcare voucher is purchased and loaded onto a cellphone and can be used when and where needed. The pre-paid voucher can be kept on a cellphone for as long as a year and can be used or transferred to a family member or friend in need of healthcare services. That is how easy it is to access healthcare when you need it the most.”
 
“We have seen all kinds of pay-as-you-go products launched in recent years, but this is the first time we have seen this type of offering in healthcare,” says Mr Holomisa. “It is so convenient and cost-effective everyone is already wondering why the idea had not been thought of until now. These are products for the people, providing easy access to doctors and other kinds of healthcare at a reasonable cost.”
 
Nine products on offer

Vouchers are easy to transfer

 
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